Yes, I find Sarah Palin's voice irritating. But that has nothing to do with my support or lack of support for her. I worked hard for Walter Mondale and proudly display on my office wall a photo of a very pregnant Sheila and me with Mondale at a meeting in Kennesaw in 1983. But his nasal, upper mid-west accent is grating to me. (I'm sorry Walter!)
(L-R) Mildred Greear, Sheila Shaw, Terrell Shaw, Walter Mondale,
Philip Greear, Jim Williams
Philip Greear, Jim Williams
Organizing and executing a large-scale, innovative, and very-successful national campaign with thousands of employees and volunteers for 19 months certainly does count, by the way.
In my opinion Barack Obama -- like Lincoln in the late fifties -- has been a major player in the national debate for four years. Prior to four years of national experience he had a strong intellectual, educational, and practical grounding in international affairs, constitutional law, and state affairs. He has been vetted by the press and by being in the public eye all that time. We know his positions. We have seen him work closely with senators of both parties. We have seen him operate under pressure. He has demonstrated himself as a person of depth, vision, and judgment to anyone paying attention.
Sarah Palin has been a rookie in a minor league. (Each of the 435 congressional districts has roughly the same population as Alaska) Palin seems to have some skills but has not yet demonstrated them in the bigs. It is plain that John McCain did not vet her in the way that he did Pawlenty and others. He is now scurrying to catch up with reporters and Democrats in post-vetting her. He does not know her. He has met her only once and briefly before last week. I doubt he knew she was a former member of an Alaskan political party that considers secession a real option for the state. McCain made, it is obvious to me, a quick political decision. Palin puts McCain in the news and dampens the post-convention attention on Obama. She is not a boring choice like a Pawlenty or Romney would have been and she excites the extreme right that has been uninspired by McCain. (She is the most extreme major party candidate and the least experienced in my memory.) Her choice shows poor judgment and, in fact negates McCain's best argument against Obama, who like Lincoln and others has a relatively thin official resume.
Those who use "commander" of the Alaska National Guard and facing the Russians across the Bering Sea as examples of foreign policy experience for Palin are just providing comic relief for the country, IMHO.
I understand the support of the right wing for Palin. She has a compelling story. She is a fresh face not associated directly with the failures of the last eight years. She is young, vital, strong, articulate, but still extremely conservative. Many conservative women have a feminist streak just under the surface. Fact is, they don't want folks pushing them around as women either. They want their female standard-bearers too.
To me the choice of Palin says that McCain has decided that his best chance is to continue the culture wars that allowed Bush to just barely make the White House twice.